Last night in youth group we covered Galatians 2:11-21. The reason we went to this text was because it deals with the heart of many of the questions that the students are asking. Many of the questions revolve around the same issues, “What if I did this bad thing?” or “Is _______ a sin?”
The main thrust of Galatians 2 is redirecting our hope and stability. I’ll explain below what we talked about last night:
Gal. 2:11-14 : In these verses we see that Paul is going to go after Peter because he is being a hypocrite even though he knows better. The issue does not stick out to us as much as it would for those to whom Paul is writing to however. For us having a meal with someone isn’t a big deal. However in Pauls day it meant more. If you ate with someone, or in this case didn’t eat with someone, you were showing who you were and weren’t friends with.
Paul is concerned that Peter is so easily swayed away from the truth of the Gospel. Peter acts one way when some Jewish Christians are around and another way when they are gone. In this particular instance he is our perfect example of what it looks like to fear man instead of God. He cares more about what they think than what God thinks. Paul is going to be sure to let him know this.
Gal. 2:15-16 : Paul seems to repeat himself a few times but is really getting to the heart of Peters, and our, problem. He is not only concerned with what other people think of him but puts his faith and security in it. Behind that security is Peters idea that the law is what justifies him.
Gal. 2:17-21 : Paul goes on to get to the meat of the matter in these verses. He talks about the cure to the problem. The law has shown us that we are sinners but it can’t do anything to save us. However, Paul reminds Peter what he has forgotten. Its Jesus that saves, not the law. Its Jesus that justifies, not the law.
Here is the revealing part for so many of us. The Holy Spirit reveals to us who Jesus is (our savior) and who we are (sinners) and why we need a savior to begin with (God’s wrath against sin). Then we go back into our day to day lives. We work, hang out with friends and do the task that we always do. We are saved, but that doesn’t mean the mundaneness of life changes.
This is where Paul teaching Peter what he should already know. That Jesus has freed us from our enslavement from the law and fear of man. That however doesn’t mean that we won’t attempt to rebuild these things in order to make ourselves feel better or to please others.
Peter is lucky to have someone in his life that is welling to call sin sin so for his own good. We should all have people in our lives that we allow to do this. Close friends that make sure that the Gospel we speak is the Gospel we live.
For those that may be reading this that don’t know Jesus: Turn to him. You may be a “great person” that is known for being very moral. However when your hope is placed in your own morality you will eventually fail. You will then try to do better but find that you can never obey all the time. This is because those rules that you can’t seem to keep 100% are made to point you toward Jesus.
For those that may be reading this that do know Jesus: Identify those places that you rebuild the old system of man made fears. Where you make are chart to measure up to and then put your hope in being able to do all the rules. Like Peter see that you are fearing man, not God. That you were saved by Jesus and nothing you have or will ever do. Its all about Him.